Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew praised his players for handling defeat with dignity after their loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
The valiant Eagles were beaten 2-1 in extra time after a stunning volley from United substitute Jesse Lingard with 110 minutes on the clock at Wembley.
Palace had taken a late lead through Jason Puncheon after 78 minutes but Juan Mata forced extra time and Pardew’s men could not find a winner despite the sending off of United’s Chris Smalling.
Pardew said: “I thought Crystal Palace Football Club handled themselves very well today and I thought our fans were terrific. They showed the world that when they fill any stadium they will not get outsung.
“All the players conducted themselves well and we are trying to take the defeat with dignity. We wish Man United well in the Europa League. We go home and lick our wounds.”
Pardew’s involvement in this final is unlikely to be forgotten after he danced on the touchline following Puncheon’s superb strike. Clips of the Pardew jig quickly went viral on the internet via social media.
He said: “I enjoyed that moment. In a cup final, as a manager, it is difficult to enjoy moments. So, if you’ll forgive me my dance, it’s just because I enjoyed it.”
The match was not without controversy with referee Mark Clattenburg frustrating Palace with a number of decisions in the first half.
Most notably, Connor Wickham went through on goal after shaking off the challenge of Smalling but play was called back for a free-kick. Wilfried Zaha also felt he should have had a penalty after a Wayne Rooney challenge.
Pardew said: “I was really disappointed with the Connor decision in particular because you could see he was going to get up first and the advantage was really with us. To be pulled back was really harsh and I do think the Rooney tackle on Wilf was a penalty.
“We played with heart and passion. It was a great cup final and Man United were the same, it was even. They had more possession but couldn’t get through us and it made for an enthralling tie, a game that could have gone either way. Unfortunately for us it didn’t go our way.”
Pardew also explained why Zaha was seen in tears on the pitch before the game. Assumptions were made that the former United winger had failed to prove his fitness after three games out but they were not correct.
Pardew said: “We put some personal messages in the dressing room from family members and I think one of those just got to him. I know there were a lot of rumours flying around that he was dropped or not going to play, but that was not the case. He just got emotional about one of the messages.”